Cadil­lac XTS safety seat alerts driv­ers to dan­gers

The Washington Times Daily - - Auto -

When the all-new Cadil­lac XTS lux­ury sedan be­gins pro­duc­tion this spring, it will be the in­dus­try’s first car to use di­rec­tional tac­tile sen­sa­tion — vi­bra­tions of the driver’s seat bot­tom — to warn of crash threats while driv­ing and park­ing.

The patented Cadil­lac Safety Alert Seat gen­er­ates vi­brat­ing pulse pat­terns on the left and/or right side of the lower bol­ster to alert the driver of po­ten­tial dan­gers, such as drift­ing from a traf­fic lane or to­ward nearby ob­jects while park­ing. Threats from the front and rear trig­ger pulses on both sides of the seat.

“It’s good to see au­tomak­ers ex­per­i­ment­ing with new tech­nol­ogy to help com­mu­ni­cate to driv­ers when their driv­ing is about to get them into trou­ble,” said Adrian Lund, pres­i­dent of the In­sur­ance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety. “We com­mend GM for their in­no­va­tive use of hap­tic feed­back and hope that driv­ers find it help­ful.”

The sys­tem works in tan­dem with other vis­ual alerts, and re­search shows that it can quickly and ac­cu­rately fo­cus driver at­ten­tion to the di­rec­tion of po­ten­tial dan­gers.

“It’s akin to some­one tap­ping on your shoul­der in a crowd to get your at­ten­tion,” said, Gen­eral Mo­tors Ac­tive Safety Tech­ni­cal Fel­low Ray­mond Kiefer. “Us­ing the tac­tile sense to com­mu­ni­cate crash threat di­rec­tion pro­vides an ef­fec­tive and in­tu­itive way to cut through the clut­ter of vis­ual and au­di­tory sen­sory in­for­ma­tion that driv­ers rou­tinely ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The seats are part of the Cadil­lac Driver Aware­ness and Driver As­sist pack­ages, a com­bi­na­tion of ac­tive safety sys­tems de­signed to help driv­ers avoid crashes. The Driver Aware­ness Pack­age, avail­able for the launch of the Cadil­lac XTS this spring, in­cludes For­ward Col­li­sion Alert, Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert.

The Driver As­sist Pack­age, avail­able this fall, also uses the Safety Alert Seat and fea­tures Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol, Au­to­matic Col­li­sion Prepa­ra­tion, and Front and Rear Au­to­matic Brak­ing Sys­tems.

The Drive As­sist Aware­ness and Driver As­sist pack­ages will also be avail­able this year in the Cadil­lac ATS lux­ury sedan and SRX lux­ury cross­over.

Ac­cord­ing to Kiefer, GM re­search shows that the seat may di­rect driver at­ten­tion to the lo­ca­tion of a crash threat more quickly and ac­cu­rately than beep­ing alerts.

“Vi­brat­ing alerts also may help driv­ers who do not hear beep­ing alerts due to hear­ing loss or com­pet­ing noises, and may be pre­ferred by driv­ers and pas­sen­gers who might be an­noyed by beeps and shut crash avoid­ance fea­tures off,” Kiefer said. “The last thing we want is for driv­ers to turn off fea­tures with safety ben­e­fits.”

The Safety Alert Seat works with a va­ri­ety of sen­sors and cam­eras in­stalled in the car that help “in­tel­li­gently” de­cide when to ac­ti­vate warn­ings. For ex­am­ple, if a turn sig­nal is on, lane de­par­ture warn­ings are not pre­sented.

Safety Alert Seat vi­bra­tions can be se­lected by the driver, via an in-ve­hi­cle menu, to re­place the au­di­ble beep­ing alerts used across much of the in­dus­try.

The seats also will be con­nected to the XTS Park As­sist sys­tem and Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert sys­tem to help make park­ing in tight spa­ces eas­ier.

Us­ing ex­te­rior cam­eras, driv­ers can see the out­side of the car along with dy­namic park­ing guides on the eight­inch LCD screen, lo­cated on the cen­ter in­stru­ment panel. As the car backs up, the seat pro­vides a few quick pulses to both sides of the seat when an ob­ject is first de­tected di­rectly be­hind the car, and then pro­vides re­peated pulses when an ob­ject is closer. Mean­while, the Rear Cross Traff ic Alert sys­tem looks for ap­proach­ing cross traf­fic be­hind the ve­hi­cle that is sig­naled with ei­ther left or right pulses to the driver.

“We feel cus­tomers will ap­pre­ci­ate the in­tu­itive el­e­gance of the Safety Alert Seat, and more im­por­tantly, will ap­pre­ci­ate the ‘good vi­bra­tions’ af­forded by the fea­tures linked to this seat,” Kiefer said.

Dur­ing low speed park­ing ma­neu­vers, Cadil­lac Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert tech­nol­ogy warns driv­ers with seat vi­bra­tions when the ve­hi­cle is close enough to an ob­sta­cle, in­di­cat­ing they should stop im­me­di­ately.

Cadil­lac Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert tech­nol­ogy uses radar sen­sors that alert the driver of ap­proach­ing cross traf­fic when back­ing out of a park­ing spot. Left or right-side vi­bra­tions in the driver’s seat are trig­gered if ve­hi­cles are de­tected.

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